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Thread: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

  1. #21
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    Does anyone know a website that has exercises designed to combat torn labrum symptoms?
    Either it's torn or it's not ... usually not a gradual thing.

    The people who opt not to do the surgery - don't swim for quite a while and do very very extensive shoulder strength excercises. And if you stop the strength work, the problems often come back...

    Same for me with the 2 years although I have seen people (Brunelli come back much faster) -- a lot had to do with working through pain and trusting that the shoulder is back to normal.

  2. #22
    Very Active Member bbpolhill's Avatar
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    Quote Originally Posted by ehoch View Post
    Either it's torn or it's not ... usually not a gradual thing.

    The people who opt not to do the surgery - don't swim for quite a while and do very very extensive shoulder strength excercises. And if you stop the strength work, the problems often come back...

    Same for me with the 2 years although I have seen people (Brunelli come back much faster) -- a lot had to do with working through pain and trusting that the shoulder is back to normal.
    Sounds like you are in the surgery camp.

    My doctor gave me 3 options: surgery to fix it (sounded like a long rehab), rehab to alleviate the symptoms, or live with the pain. I opted for trying to rehab it before having the surgery, but was trying to see what was involved before I made that time and financial commitment.

  3. #23
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    Scott, my brother has had the biceps tendon tear away due to biceps tendinitis in both arms. He does have the "Popeye" arm effect now, but he is able to swim. The constant pain from the tendinitis was completely gone after the acute pain from the tear subsided. He does have to keep up the PT exercises to keep the other biceps tendon attachments from becoming a problem, but overall this seems to be working for him. YMMV
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  4. #24
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    I had surgery six weeks ago to repair a badly broken finger. I still can't move the finger, and my hand and joints swell up each morning and I spend the rest of the day stretching them.

    Surgery is awful so please, please try to recover without it if you can. Otherwise, whatever you do post-surgery, make sure you take those anti-inflammatories for a long time, and keep icing the site as needed, and start with a (very experienced) physical therapist as soon as you can afterwards or you will have permanent issues. Always get a second opinion from a different surgeon too. It's worth the extra $200 for an independent consultation. If I had done this, I likely would have avoided a more complicated hand surgery and had a better recovery (it turns out that my original hand surgeon was wrong about needing to do a bone graft on my finger).

  5. #25
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    I started this thread, so I figure I should give an update....

    I never did the surgery. I did 2 or 3 months of physically therapy, then got back into the water in January, continuing with PT exercises also. Started with low yardage and frequency, then built slowly. I'm swimming 4x per week now (with a 5th really easy swim on my own) with no real pain. I'm pretty much back to the same shape I was in when I stopped swimming just over a year ago when things were too painful.

    On the downside, if I swim fly I feel it a day or two later (though it actually feels fine while swimming), so I don't plan on swimming fly much. Sometimes swimming backstroke is bothersome. I still can't swim "air freestyle" without impingement pain, but then I suppose swimming freestlye while standing on land is much different from being horizontal in water. I'm skipping Zones this summer since I suspect that the stress of diving in and taking that first stroke or two will make the shoulder situation noticeably worse. I know I need to continue with the physical therapy exercises but I don't do them frequently as I should since I'm feeling pretty good in the water.

    So I guess my answer to my original question is: Yes, you can recover from a minor labral tear without surgery, but the recovery will take months may not ever be 100% complete.

    Brian
    Last edited by famelec; July 15th, 2009 at 01:07 PM. Reason: spelling error

  6. #26
    Very Active Member isobel's Avatar
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    I was just diagnosed with torn labrum and bone erosion; surgeon said surgery was only option; PT won't heal the tear.

    I have been doing PT since February. The pinching (impingement) is mostly gone, but my joint feels very off swimming, and PT said I should readjust my swimming goals to swim maybe 1500 to 2000 yards a few times a week and take up other sports.

    Uh, Non! Swimming is so important to me! So I am thinking I will take the chance, have the surgery, and, according to the surgeon, I should be back in the water in 4 months.

    I do worry about the intial pain.

    Anyone out here have successful labrum repair surgery and now back to awesome satisfying swimming? I don't have to be Superwoman; I would just like to do workouts again. My arm hurts other times, too, like when washing my hair or in some positions putting any pressure on it.

    I have done tons of exercises with weights/without weights throughout my 10 years of masters swimming, specifically to strengthen my rotator cuff area, but this pain came out of the blue. I also have used all my dance books/training to work on posture using imagery and core muscles. Yet, the pain persists. It's not destroying my daily life activities, but it has destroyed my swimming training, unless I need to be more patient and swim very little for very much longer, like a year. I have swum very little for 4 months and pretty much am going out of my mind. I also have seen no improvement by resting and cutting back to virtually no yardage. I kick a lot and do the elliptical and leg machines in the gym so maybe am getting a good butt and quads but I'd rather be swimming in my lane with my swim buddies.

    Any really cool success stories out there? This surgeon is highly recommended by my coach and the surgeon's assistant says she is very conservative when it comes to recommending surgery.

    But I am verrrrry scared.

  7. #27
    Very Active Member isobel's Avatar
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    Here are all the PT exercises I have been doing to strengthen and stabilize my shoulder blades. I've gone on to some others: throwing a ball against a wall overhead and catching it out to the side (this is supposed to get the shoulder blade to stay close to the spine without conscious effort); snow angels (standing against a wall and moving my arms up and down as if making pointy snow angels); some others.

    These exercises are hard to do if your core is not strong (especially the ones involving weights).

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA7HsQW4xvA"]YouTube- Swimmer shoulder stability exercises, Part 1[/nomedia]

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOUNasYZohU&feature=related"]YouTube- Swimmer shoulder stability exercises, Part 2[/nomedia]

    Also of course the ever-needed internal/external rotation exercises with Therabands or weights.

    Alas, I still cannot swim after four months, though my shoulders and back are now very strong. TBD.

    No one ever told me about shoulder stabilization exercises. I wish I'd known 10 years ago that these were important.

    Also, as others have said, posture, core strength, posture posture posture.

  8. #28
    Very Active Member Jimbosback's Avatar
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    Quote Originally Posted by isobel View Post
    Anyone out here have successful labrum repair surgery and now back to awesome satisfying swimming?
    My swimming is not quite awesome, but ...

    I dislocated my shoulder playing HS baseball in 1986. It ended my scholastic baseball career and messed up my last two years of swimming, though physical therapy made me a decent swimmer my senior year. The injury made me prone to dislocation, which I'd do regularly -- water polo, volleyball, moving furniture, etc. Doctors were no help -- just recommended I keep doing my exercises. This kept me from swimming in college, though I swam well enough to lifeguard, and I could throw a ball well enough to play softball.

    Fast forward to 2002, and I was taking care of two kids and renovating our house. My shoulder started aching at first and then my arm just felt like it would fall off any time I relaxed it at my side.

    I found a good orthopedic surgeon. He put me through x-rays, several MRIs, and strength tests. He could tell something was wrong but could not see exactly what on the images. There was tendonitis and bursitis and a little fraying around the joint. He wanted to go in arthroscopically and clean things up, and while in there thoroughly examine the area. Then if he found something he could not fix, he wanted to do it again after three months of PT. I told him I did not want to wait that long to be better and convinced him to do whatever it took to fix whatever he found the first time. In July 2004, he went in.

    It turned out my labrum was completely detached in front. It required open surgery (I have a 4-inch scar) and several metal anchors to fix.

    PT was supposed to take 3 months to be back to normal, but I was functional after 3 weeks, and after 2 months I could throw a ball like when I was 16. After 3 months, I could swim, though I only swam once in a while for fitness.

    Various things got in the way of me swimming between then and now, but I decided about a year ago to start swimming again. When I got in the pool, I was not so good, but it had nothing to do with my shoulder. After a few weeks of stretching thing out, I was on my way to swimming well again. No problems with my shoulder. I am also coaching little league, and I can throw hours of batting practice.

    I am pretty sure that if I had the time and made the effort right after surgery that I could have swam right after about 6 months -- three with therapy and three more with easy swimming and weights.

    If the technology was there for me in 1986, I am confident I could have played ball or swam in college after this procedure.

    If they can do it all arthroscopically, even better -- the hardest part for me was waiting for the incision to heal and then getting that scar tissue broken up.

    Get this fixed, as it won't get better and might get worse. Trust your doctor, and take your time with recovery.

    Good luck!
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  9. #29
    Very Active Member bbpolhill's Avatar
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    Quote Originally Posted by isobel View Post

    Anyone out here have successful labrum repair surgery and now back to awesome satisfying swimming? I don't have to be Superwoman; I would just like to do workouts again. My arm hurts other times, too, like when washing my hair or in some positions putting any pressure on it.

    Any really cool success stories out there? This surgeon is highly recommended by my coach and the surgeon's assistant says she is very conservative when it comes to recommending surgery.

    .
    I had a torn labrum and slight tear in the rotator cuff which was diagnosed in June 2009. I started out with Physical Therapy and made mild progress, but I could tell that it was not good enough to be able to swim without pain so I decided to try the surgery. In the weeks before the surgery, my doctor allowed me to swim "because I couldn't injure it any more". I swam for a couple of weeks until the pain made it impossible to complete a workout. I had a labrum repair surgery while also having some bone spurs removed in September. By late December, I made enough progress with PT to get back in the water and started working out with the team at the beginning of January. At first, I was quite weak, but used Zoomers to keep up with my lane mates. By February, I was able to keep up with without Zoomers. I did not experience any pain that I can recall. By March, I was able to swim in a meet and far exceeded my expectations and even made some personal bests.

    My overall assessment was that I really needed the surgery to fix the tear but also to get rid of the bone spurs. The Physical Therapy only worked after the surgery. I am back to swimming 5 to 6 times a week 3200-4000 yds per practice. Let me know if you need any additional information that would ease your mind.

  10. #30
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    Hi.. my mom do had labrum tore at her upper arm.. she has been asked to take up a surgery as the tear is some what severe, but is very scared of it, is there any option of get recovered from it without a surgery??

  11. #31
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    Re: Torn Labrum - Recovery without Surgery?

    The great question, surgury or not. I've been diagnosed with a Class III SLAP tear. A triathlete who took several bike crashes (tear probably happened Sep 2010). Shoulder pain while swimming, lifting weights, and when I wake up. PT no help.

    I would like to hear from those of you who underwent surgury and whether you are better off or not.

    Also is there a way to sleep that you wont wake up with a shoulder ache?

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